Britain's Pearson reported a 12 percent jump in earnings helped by demand for its education products in emerging markets, and forecast more growth in 2012 when digital revenue would beat traditional publishing sales for the first time.

The owner of the world's biggest education technology business, the Financial Times and Penguin books, reported adjusted earnings per share of 86.5 pence, beating guidance it raised in January.

Sales in 2011 rose 6 percent at constant exchange rates to 5.86 billion pounds, it said on Monday.

The company said the trading environment was likely to remain challenging in 2012, but it would stick to its course of making the group more digital and exposed to emerging markets.

Pearson expects to achieve continued sales and operating profit growth in 2012, in spite of tough trading conditions and rapid industry change, it said in a statement.

International education and professional services are the fastest growing parts of Pearson, and there are longstanding rumours that it will sell the Financial Times, which accounts for about one-tenth of revenue.

The speculation gained currency earlier this month when the Guardian reported that Thomson Reuters was interested in buying the newspaper, and Bloomberg had already flirted with a deal.

Pearson knocked back the rumour on Twitter. The FT is a very valued and valuable part of Pearson. It is not for sale, the company said on February 9.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by James Davey)